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China Daily Global / 2023-06 / 23 / Page002

31 dead, 7 hurt in blast in Ningxia

By HU DONGMEI in Yinchuan and DU JUAN in Beijing | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-06-23 00:00

9 people detained as explosion at restaurant probed

Thirty-one people died and seven were injured after an explosion caused by the leakage of a liquefied gas tank in a barbecue restaurant on Wednesday night in Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui autonomous region, local authorities said, adding that all-out efforts are being made to rescue and treat the wounded.

The incident, the most serious of its kind in Ningxia over the past years, happened at around 8:40 pm on Wednesday, according to the local government's official WeChat account. The fire caused by the explosion was put out at 9:20 pm.

Local fire authorities sent 20 vehicles and more than 100 workers to the scene, with search and rescue operations lasting until 4 am Thursday.

Among the injured, one person is still in critical condition. The rest are being treated in the hospital for minor injuries, burns and glass cuts.

The National Health Commission immediately dispatched the national-level emergency medical team, which included burn and intensive care specialists, to treat the injured.

The Ningxia government has temporarily relocated the residents of all 64 families in two residential buildings near the barbecue restaurant to nearby hotels.

An investigative team has also been formed to handle the case.

The public security department has detained nine people related to the explosion. Authorities have frozen the assets of the detained, which include the manager, shareholders and employees of the restaurant.

The local government released some details about the incident on Thursday, saying that two restaurant workers named Feng Hongjuan, a server, and Ma Chengjun, a cook, had smelled gas about an hour before the explosion.

The two found the valve of the gas tank had broken and sent another worker, Li Zhixiang, to buy a new one, according to a post made by the government online, citing notes from the local police and fire department. The explosion took place as the valve was being replaced.

The restaurant, named Fuyang Barbecue, is located on a busy street in Yinchuan's Xingqing district.

During a news conference the local government held on Thursday evening, the Yinchuan authorities expressed deep condolences to the victims' families and issued apologies to local residents. They vowed to immediately carry out a one-month investigation and rectification campaign in relevant industries, such as gas, hazardous chemicals, mines, construction sites and transportation, to avoid such tragedies.


Fire rescuers work at the natural gas explosion site outside Fuyang Barbecue restaurant in Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui autonomous region, on Wednesday. WANG PENG/XINHUA



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